How To Sell More Apps With Google Adwords

On December 18, 2012

Discovery in the app store is a tough nut to crack, right? Icon design. App store SEO. Search listings. Chart position. You know these tools. You know how competitive it can get. App store promotion is hard work. But there is another promotional method. It’s not as popular. It’s not as competitive But it has been delivering astounding results for many app marketers who use it…

How Google Adwords can Skyrocket Your App Sales

Lets imagine you have an app in the finance category. It’s a time tracking app for freelance workers.

Some people search the App Store for “time tracker”, your chosen term, but competition is high.


So you check the Google Keyword tool and see that 18,000 people are searching for “time tracking” on a smartphone every single month.

That’s a huge potential!

And it’s just one of the many keywords you could target.

How Google Sends Customers To Your Door

By expanding your promotion to Google ads you can cast a much wider net.

These people are Googling their problem. They may not even know that an app is their solution… but you’re about to let them know.

User searches google and finds an ad for your app

You can start taking advantage of all these searchers in 3 steps:

1. Get a landing page

2. Run a Google Adwords Campaign

3. Track & Refine

Step 1: Get a landing page

One big mistake app marketers make is sending search clicks directly to the App Store or Google Play.

Most users aren’t quite ready to purchase. You should bring them to a mobile landing page to make your sales pitch – showing them images, description and information before they decide to download your app.

Before you run your ad campaign, you’ve got 3 options for building a landing page:

a) Custom code it or hire a developer on elance or oDesk. This is the most time/cost intensive, but gives you good flexibility

b) Use a template from a site like Themeforest. They cost about $10, but would require some basic coding knowledge.

c) Use a mobile landing page builder like SparkPage. SparkPage will let you build a landing page in minutes with no coding required.

Our experience shows that bringing a user to a mobile-optimized landing page can increase sales significantly.


How to Build The Perfect Landing Page

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing. (sorry!)

If there was one perfect page for every app then the iTunes & Google Play listing would be it.

The “one size fits all” app store template won’t deliver the most sales possible.

You know your app. You know your ideal user. You know your selling points. You can build a better landing page.

Here are some tips that we’ve seen work well:

  • Include an app video. A killer video can turbo-boost app sales
  • Use other rich media like image sliders with app screenshots.
  • Make your text short & snappy.
  • Add great user reviews or rankings (#1 in Finance!)
  • Experiment. Run A/B testing whenever possible.

Step 2: Run Your Ads

To get started, you need a free adwords account (create one here).

Once you’re signed up, start a new “Search Network” campaign.

Under the “Devices” heading select “Let Me Choose”

Make sure only the “Mobile devices with full browsers” option is selected, as shown in the image below.

adwords device targeting

Then expand “Advanced mobile and tablet options.” Only show ads to people who could download your app. E.G. iOS 4.3 -> 6.0.

Note: If you have an Android and an iOS app create two separate campaigns. You’ll generate more sales if you track and optimize them separately.

Crafting Your Mobile Ad

There are more detailed guides online for creating a mobile adwords campaing, but getting started is very straight forward.

Follow the on-screen prompts to add a headline, description and URL.

As a rule of thumb we find that shorter sentences perform better on mobile, due to the limited screen space. So keep your headlines to a 3-4 word maximum.

To help you select some great keywords you can use the Google Keyword Tool.

(Tip: In the keyword tool click on “Devices: Desktop and Laptop” to filter down to just mobile devices with full browsers)

3. Track and refine

Set a small budget to start with and track your progress. Once you find the keywords and ads that are getting downloads you can accelerate your spending to really drive app sales.

If you’re selling on Google Play you can also link your adwords campaign to track right the way through to downloads. Google explain how to do that here.

Start Today

Your competitors are all putting time and effort into app store promotion, but few are addressing customers on the wider web.

As the wise man once said: fish where the fish are.

And with over 90% of all mobile searches now going through Google, that’s a great place to start.


This is a guest post first published on Inspired Mag by Peter Tanham, co-founder and CEO of SparkPage, the platform for building mobile landing pages in minutes.